With the Maple Leafs, for now at least, operating without their first two draft choices, the pressure for the scouting staff actually intensifies.
Can the team find jewels in the later rounds?
We spoke to a large sampling of players who may or may not be available should the Leafs choose 62nd in the June 25,-26 entry draft in Los Angeles. Here are their stories.NAME:
Right Wing BORN:
201 lbs.CENTRAL SCOUTING RANK:
25 goals, 42 assists, 67 points, 8 PIMs, 28 games.
Finally, Kevin Hayes gets to play with his big brother.
Hayes has enrolled at Boston College where he hopes to play on a line with his brother Jimmy, a Leafs prospect.
Aside from a few callups, Kevin had never shared the ice with his big brother.
“I’ve always been known as Jimmy’s little brother,” said Kevin. “Even when we would play street hockey in the driveway we would compete with each other, but I’m glad to have his as an older brother.”
His Mother works at a coffee shop while his Dad manages his own ticket vending brokerage. If Hayes hasn’t learned what he needed to know about hard work at the feet of his brother, he certainly learned it from watching his parents.
The Hayes are blessed with hockey bloodlines. Second cousins Keith Tkachuk and Tom Fitzgerald each enjoyed log NHL careers, but Jimmy need not go any further than is brother at Boston College.
“My brother told me it is a huge jump to play college hockey and reminded me not to lose confidence. If I didn’t play much or I was scratched, it’s just part of the process. I think maintaining my confidence during that time will be my biggest challenge.”
No matter how he fares on the rink, Hayes’ requirements in the classroom will not alter.
“I want to be a student/athlete and that means keeping my grades up. Education is huge in my family. After hockey you need that education.”
Hayes’ appearance at the draft will mark a high-water mark for New England hockey. Hayes, Bill Arnold, Connor Brickley are in a pack of players heading from the northeast United States to the draft in Los Angeles, June 25 and 26 draft.